News Sites Hold Onto Gains From 2008 Election Cycle | Adweek News Sites Hold Onto Gains From 2008 Election Cycle | Adweek
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News Sites Hold Onto Gains From 2008 Election Cycle

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Americans have been unable to kick their addiction to online news, despite the post election/inauguration saturation coverage and the relentless stream of here-comes-another-Depression news.

The Web’s top news sites have lost little if any audience in the nearly six months since Barack Obama was elected president. And though the hardest of hard-core political sites have experienced erosion, most have set new audience thresholds. “We were anxious to see where traffic went heading into this year,” said Kyoo Kim, vp of sales at MSNBC.com. “It’s been very encouraging.”

According to numbers compiled by Nielsen Online, in March category giants MSNBC.com (39.9 million uniques) CNN.com (38.7 million and Yahoo News (37.9 million) each saw their unique user bases dip just a few percentage points since their November peak. It seems as though the mega-interest in the great race between Obama and Sen. John McCain has habituated users to garner more news online.

“That’s what we’ve seen before,” said Chuck Schilling, research director for agency & media analytics at Nielsen Online. “After a major event the subsequent dip is not as deep as before the event happened. People get exposed and change their behavior. There is something that sticks.”

Foxnews.com has also gotten more folks to stick since the election, actually seeing its audience climb during each of the first three months of the year to 16.8 million uniques in March.

Jeremy Steinberg, FoxNews.com’s vp digital sales and business development, said that page views for the site’s politics section are up 50 percent since the election, and business traffic is up as well. “With any big story or event, you always get more sampling,” said Steinberg. “When users come to us, they explore the site, find out they like us and stay.”

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